Van Gogh and Britain

“HOW I LOVE LONDON” - Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh was twenty when he arrived in London. He spent three years between 1873 and 1876 in Britain and fell in love with London where he visited museums and galleries, walked through the city, travelled by underground and by boat along the river Thames.

Self Portrait, Autumn  -  1889 National Gallery of Art (Washington, USA)

Self Portrait, Autumn - 1889 National Gallery of Art (Washington, USA)

At the entrance to the exhibition at Tate Britain we were met by large scale photograph of Vincent’s lodgings in Hackford Road, Stockwell.


As well as being inspired by the writings of British authors such as Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare, he was also inspired by the works of British artists including Constable and Millais.


His own work also had a resounding impact on a number of British artists. This dazzling exhibition currently on at Tate Britain is a brilliant exploration of cross references and aims to demonstrate the exchange of ideas apparent in the works on show.

Pollarded Willows, Vincent van Gogh - 1888

Pollarded Willows, Vincent van Gogh - 1888

Van Gogh embraced a daring use of colour, particularly yellows and blues - he even painted his own house in Arles yellow, filling it with his paintings of sunflowers.

"SUNFLOWERS ARE MINE” - Vincent van Gogh

HOW TO USE YELLOW… Yellow is a sunny fresh colour and is often described as a ‘feel-good‘ colour. Yellow looks particularly striking with strong background colours, but also just a splash of yellow, in cushions or accessories, teamed with grey furnishings provides a sophisticated take on the yellow theme.

Van Gogh surprised with his daring use of colour and frequently used colours not traditionally associated with skin tones. He also used colour to express emotion and depth of feeling. His backgrounds, brightly painted walls and interiors were often combined complimentary colours such as red & green and blue & orange.

HOW TO BE BOLD WITH COLOUR… It takes confidence to use these colours in an interior setting. We drew inspiration from Van Gogh’s unique understanding of colour and balance.

Little Greene paint collection includes paint colours from key periods in the history of decoration and provides free sample pots for you to try out. We’ve put together a selection from their range. While some colours may appear bold remember, you can always complement and restrain a strong colour statement by including white or soft greys.

EMBRACE WOOD & NATURAL MATERIALS… Van Gogh used simple furniture, in his Yellow House in Arles. His iconic wooden chair and bed are familiar from his paintings, together with his love of nature, this inspired us to take a look at how we can use the warmth of wood and natural materials in our own homes.

CREATE A WALL OF PICTURES... In his bedroom Van Gogh created his own gallery of pictures of friends and family, it was his way of personalizing his space, feeling connected and creating a sense of home. Instead of separating prints, photographs, paintings and framed images, try creating a wall of pictures mixing and matching styles, sizes and mediums to create a focal point in a hallway or feature wall.

Tate Britain has created a special menu inspired by the bold colours in Van Gogh’s work to accompany the show and we love this dish, which is a light hearted nod to his Starry Night over the Rhone.



Starry Night over the Rhone, Vincent van Gogh - 1888 Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Starry Night over the Rhone, Vincent van Gogh - 1888 Musée d’Orsay, Paris